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Students can reduce the time needed to become pharmacists to five years from eight

COURTESY PHOTO: RHODA BAER, NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE FOR WIKIMEDIA COMMONS - Mt. Hood Community College has struck a deal with Pacific University that will allow students to get a pharmacy degree in five years instead of eight.  Mt. Hood Community College has struck a deal with Pacific University to make it easier for students to become pharmacists.

The new arrangement, the first of its kind for a community college in the Portland area, will allow students to accelerate their education and enter the pharmacy field in five years instead of eight.

It's an attractive career path. Pharmacists in Oregon earn an average base pay of $127,516, according to Glassdoor, and demand for pharmacists is steady.

The new program, called PharmD Bridge, allows students to complete an associate degree at MHCC and then transfer to the Pacific University School of Pharmacy to earn a doctorate in pharmacy. Pacific is located in Forest Grove, but the pharmacy program is in Hillsboro.

"We are proud to be the first community college in the Portland metro area to enter into an agreement like this that will allow us to work alongside Pacific University so more students can get their careers in pharmacy underway faster," Alfred McQuarters, MHCC vice president of instruction, said in the announcement of the program.

Pharmacy school usually takes about eight years to complete, four years for a bachelor's degree and four years of pharmacy school. Through the PharmD Bridge program, students can earn a two-year associate degree at MHCC and then go on to Pacific University's School of Pharmacy for a final three years.

"Pacific University's School of Pharmacy is excited to work with the wonderful students at MHCC who want to pursue a pharmacy degree. We wanted to create a path for these students that allows them to attain a PharmD degree in as little as five years while also building our connection with the MHCC community," Tony Potter, assistant director of graduate and professional admissions at Pacific University said in the announcement.

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